The “Denpa” Men: They Came By Wave Review for Nintendo 3DS

The “Denpa” Men: They Came By Wave Review for Nintendo 3DS

I see “Denpa” people.

I think The “Denpa” Men: They Came By Wave has crept inside my head. I find myself looking differently at the men around me, wondering how they’d look if they slapped on a full bodysuit in flashy colors, put an antenna on their head and perhaps wrapped their face in saran wrap. Yeah, that would be an awesome look.

Honestly, that isn’t too far a departure from one of the game’s selling points. This is an incredibly quirky RPG from Genius Sonority, a company known for Pokémon spin-offs, that involves scouring your vicinity for invisible men with smooshy faces and the worst fashion sense ever so they can move into your 3DS and help your local “Denpa” Man in a not-so-epic quest.

The “Denpa” Men: They Came By Wave Screenshot

The adventure begins with one lone “Denpa” Man. His name/bodysuit color doesn’t matter, as he’s always some random individual with the Revive ability that desperately needs your assistance. He lives in the 3DS and normally wouldn’t ask for anything, but the King of Evil did a little kidnapping and someone important to this particular “Denpa” Man was the victim. This means you’ll have to go through some dungeons to prepare a crew of “Denpa” Men, climbing the King of Evil’s tower and performing a major rescue operation.

Let’s start with the absolute best part of the game, the “Denpa” catching. “Denpa” Men ride the radio waves. Translation: Your 3DS searches for WiFi signals and when some are picked up, your 3DS camera reveals the “Denpa” Men and they show up on the upper screen as well as some cross-hairs. You then have to move the 3DS around to follow the one you’d like to capture, pressing A at the correct moment to launch a net and recruit a new partner.

The “Denpa” Men: They Came By Wave Screenshot

This is not as easy as it sounds, as the best ones don’t seem like they want to be caught. There are various types of “Denpa” Men. All have body color that designates their elemental affinities and about half have antennae. An antenna is a visual indicator of a “Denpa” Man’s special skill, which could allow him to unleash a special attack, a debuff, a buff, or some sort of healing technique. Very rarely, a shining “Denpa” Man will appear on screen, which means he’ll either have better physical stats or a rare antenna skill.

The “Denpa” Men: They Came By Wave Screenshot

The holy grail is a multicolor “Denpa” Man with a striped bodysuit and healthy glow, as these are strong against two elements and have a special skill. As you can guess, the better the “Denpa” Man, the more elusive he is. The antenna-less ones in black or white suits are ridiculously common, while the striped and glowing “Denpa” Men are constantly moving and have a habit of only appearing momentarily to tease you before evaporating.

Basically, this game has a bit of that “gotta catch ’em all” mentality that compels you to scour your neighborhood searching for new party members. Even though it earned me a number of strange looks, I couldn’t resist pulling my 3DS out in high traffic areas to see if I could find a new friend. Once you realize there are abilities that can influence all enemies or all allies, it’s easy to get caught up in the search for every one.

I’d almost say that this searching aspect makes up for the less appealing aspect of The “Denpa” Men: They Came By Wave. Once you’ve recruited your “Denpa” Men, you send them through various dungeons to level them up so they’ll be prepared to enter the King of Evil’s tower and take part in the ultimate battle. Since that means reaching at least level 15, it means you’ll spend a lot of time roaming around, searching for enemy encounters. They’re easy to find, as enemies can be seen wandering around both on the top screen and as red dots on the bottom screen’s map.

The thing is, the dungeon areas are painfully average. There are no puzzles or challenge to them. There’s no risk of getting lost. So long as one keeps moving forward, the boss will eventually be reached. While each does at least look unique and has multiple floors, it’s hardly thrilling exploring each floor; the only reason I found to roam every hall was the hope of perhaps finding a treasure chest.

The “Denpa” Men: They Came By Wave Screenshot

Fortunately, the battles more than make up for the extraordinarily ordinary dungeons. The “Denpa” Men: They Came By Wave takes a cue from games like Earthbound and has crazy foes like the anthropomorphic Corn Critter attacking alongside JRPG staples like bats and bearwolves. It also offers a streamlined form of the turn-based battles we know and love. When “Denpa” Men unleash physical attacks on foes, they run up as a giant mob and start wailing on foes. Unless they’re using special abilities, you don’t have to wait for characters to move one at a time.

Even the battle controls seem designed to save players time. You can pick out every character’s actions for each battle if you’d like, as usual with turn-based battles. You can also choose one of two auto-battle options with the press of Y or X. Pressing X directs the “Denpa” Men to use only physical attacks while the Y allows them to use skills at their discretion. The “Denpa” Men: They Came By Wave is one of the few RPGs where I trust the computer’s judgment when it comes to skill usage. It’s perfectly capable of choosing the right time to use buffing or debuffing abilities, and is especially savvy when it comes to healing. It will automatically heal the character with the lowest hit points during a round and if someone is knocked out in the midst of a round and you have a character with the Revive ability, he will automatically use it that same turn.

The “Denpa” Men is wonderful for another reason, as it’s the perfect example of a bite-sized JRPG. The catching expeditions and breezy battles can be enjoyed at length or in brief sessions, making it one of the best time-sinks currently available in the 3DS eShop. It’s well worth the $9.99 entry fee, and I’d expect many people will keep playing long after the King of Evil is vanquished in the hopes of befriending every kind of “Denpa” Man.

I can’t decide if the “Denpa” Men are horribly grotesque or cute. They’ve got character, I’ll give them that. As does most of the rest of the game, since you’re battling giant ears of corn and your in-game shop is shaped like a loaf of bread. 4.0 Control
If you’ve ever played an RPG in your life, you’ll know exactly what to do. Although, I’d have liked the option to press the shoulder buttons to launch a “Denpa”-catching net. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The soundtrack was composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto of Final Fantasy Tactics fame and is pleasant enough, but I doubt you’ll be humming these tunes days after playing. 4.8 Play Value
Searching out “Denpa” Men is ridiculously addictive, and the turn-based battles move fast enough to keep level-grinding from becoming an exercise in mediocrity. 4.0 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Different types of “Denpa” Men are location-specific.
  • There are many types of “Denpa” Men, some are quite rare.
  • You can find and catch new characters anytime, anywhere.
  • Captured characters become characters in the game.

  • To top